As gamblers we tend to step out on faith fairly often. Faith that the hot streak is going to continue. Faith in the shooter’s ability to toss a hardway. Faith in placing the six and the eight. Faith in placing a come bet with odds. And no where is that faith more evident than when we step out with a betting progression. Particularly if it is an “up as you lose,” or “negative progression.”
Some players incorrectly believe their progression strategy will somehow overcome the house’s edge. They can even point back to particular sessions when they proved their theories were correct. Thinking back on those thousands of dollars won, it is fairly easy to forget about those sessions where the progression didn’t quite work out.
The list of available progressions is endless. Yet there are a few that have been around forever – and will stay around as long as players step up to the tables. In general, though, there are three types of progressions that pretty much say it all. Double up. Progress on wins. Progress on losses.
The Martingale. Most players are familiar with the Martingale. Amazingly, many actually think they invented it. With the Martingale the player doubles his bet after every loss, then regresses to a single unit after a win. The hope here is for a small profit. The casino bosses, wise to this strategy, set table limits that prevent high rollers from endlessly beating them with the Martingale. In most cases, double your initial bet eight or nine times and you’re at the table limit. Let’s take a look at a table max series and see how it shakes out:
$10 Game – $2500 Max Bet
First wager $10 Lose
Second wager $20 Lose
Third wager $40 Lose
Four wager $80 Lose
Fifth wager $160 Lose
Sixth wager $320 Lose
Seventh wager $640 Lose
Eighth wager $1280 Lose
Ninth wager Table Max Reached
Many players utilize one form or another of the Martingale as a “get back” bet after a series of smaller losses. If, for example, you count up and determine you are down $75 for your session you might consider playing a three level Martingale in an effort to recoup your losses. In this case your bets would be $75 – $150 – $300. A well-bankrolled player who can tolerate the risk might stretch to a fourth level, stretching to a $600 final wager. Under no circumstances would I extend the series beyond that level.
The Laboucherie. Also known as the “Split Martingale,”
“Cross-Out,” or “Cancellation” strategy – the Laboucherie has been around for many years. Named for its creator, it is most commonly seen at the roulette tables but can be utilized for any flat betting table game. In its basic form the player simply writes down some numbers – let’s say 1 2 3 – on a sheet of paper. Each bet placed will be the sum of the first and last of these numbers. In this example the first wager would be the sum of 1 and 3, which equals 4. If the player wins he crosses off the two numbers and bets the next two that are on the outside. In this instance there would be only the single two-unit bet. If that wins he has completed the series and won a total of all of the numbers – six in this example.
Utilizing this strategy, the player need win only 1/3 of the bets PLUS two more and he will complete the series and win the amount that is in the series. Since the players normally win almost half of their bets, that means they must eventually win, right? Of course, the dice have no memory of what went before, and any player is subject to long streaks of losses.
There are many variations to the Laboucherie. One is to use a series of different numbers, perhaps with a lot of ones in the beginning to keep the series from growing so fast. The series would look something like 1-1-1-2-2-3. When the series is complete the player will have won 10 units.
There is also a Reverse Laboucherie system that calls for the player to add the amount of the win to the end and cancel the 2 outside numbers on each loss. The bet is the sum of these two outside numbers. This gives the player many very small losses in return for an occasional very large win. It is not a strategy for the faint hearted.
The Fibonacci. Next on the list is the Fibonacci Progression. This negative progression is based on a naturally recurring “growth” cycle that can be observed in nature. Consider the nautilus shell. As the nautilus outgrows one chamber of its shell it builds another larger chamber. Each successive chamber is progressively larger than the last. In fact – the new chamber’s size is the sum of the area of the previous two chambers.
The usual Fibonacci Progression is as follows: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34 etc. Each number in the series is the sum of the previous two numbers. The basic idea behind the progression is to get two wins in a row. For each loss the bettor steps up one in the progression. For each win, he makes the same bet again. If he scores a second wind the basic fibo dictates that he start the progression over at one unit. If he loses, however, he again advances one step. Like all progression betting strategies, there is the chance of losing a substantial amount of money on a protracted losing streak. However, the Fibonacci is a well-respected strategy that is frequently utilized for flat betting in all casino table games. It is the basis of many popular systems, including the Neural and the Neural Capping strategies. Here’s an example of the Fibonacci in play. In this case we will use ten dollar units:
First wager $10 Lost
Second wager $10 Lost
Third wager $20 Lost
Fourth wager $30 Lost
Fifth wager $50 Won
Sixth wager $50 Won
Seventh wager $10 New Series
As you can three, the player was down $70 after the first four wagers. Winning the fifth bet recouped $50 of his losses. Winning the second bet yields a $30 profit for the series and the player starts over with a $10 bet.
Variants on the Fibonacci include a strategy that reduces the size of the bet after a win to however much it will take to yield a one unit profit. Following that strategy in the above example, the sixth wager would have been $30 – one step back from the $50 wager.
In essence, the Fibonacci is a type of slow Martingale. Only in the case of the fibo, it takes two consecutive wins to turn a profit instead of one.
The Paroli. Another popular strategy is the Paroli System. This is actually an anti-Martingale strategy in that the player increases his bet by one unit on every win as opposed to on a loss. On any loss the player regresses his wager back to one unit. This is not a particularly bad way to play. In fact, the Heat Seeking Craps Strategy presented later in this booklet is a modified Paroli strategy.
During a winning streak it is quite easy to build up to a substantial sized bet using the Paroli. Some players prefer to establish max bet rules that will trigger a regression when they reach a certain level – allowing them to lock up a larger guaranteed profit. Let’s run through a simple Paroli progression:
First wager $10 Lost
Second wager $10 Won
Third wager $20 Won
Fourth wager $30 Won
Fifth wager $40 Won
Sixth wager $50 Lost
Seventh wager $10 New series
A quick recap of the numbers will show that the above series produced a $40 win after four consecutive player decisions. Had we not lost our first wager then the series would have produced a profit after just three wins and one loss. The advantage of the Paroli strategy is that it can be played with a relatively small bankroll. Money management is built in. It’s follow-the-trend style of play forces you put more money on the table when you are winning and less when you are losing. For comp hustlers, it also offers an opportunity to extend your table time with very little downside risk. And the player only needs to catch a small streak to succeed.
1-3-2-6 Progression. The 1-3-2-6 Progression can work very well for the short-term player. What makes the progression so attractive to players is that only two betting units are at risk for a chance to win ten units. He can make a nice profit with a minimal investment. Catch a streak and the player can do very well.
The first bet in this progression is one unit. If that wager wins the player adds another unit to the original bet and payoff, making the second bet a total of three units. This is a simple “parlay plus” play that we will discuss in depth in Chapter 3 of this Section.
If the player wins the second bet, there are 6 units on the table. He then removes four units and makes his third bet for two units. If the third bet wins he adds two more units to the original bet and payoff, making it a total of six units for the fourth bet. If the fourth bet wins he will collect a total of 12 units and locks up a ten unit profit.
Obviously, if the player loses the first bet, the loss is one unit. Assuming he wins the first, but loses the second bet, the net loss is two units. If he wins the second, but loses the third bet, he has a profit of two units. If the player wins the first three bets but lose the fourth bet, he breaks even. If he loses the second bet five out of six times and wins four consecutive bets just once, the player is right back where he started from, dead even.
The “31” Strategy is another play that has many variations. Like the Fibonacci, instead of relying on one win to get you back in the black, it relies on two. The “31” Strategy takes its name from the total number of units required to play the series. The progression pre-supposes that no player will have a streak of six consecutive wins or losses. The object is to win one wager, then start the progression over. Your session bankroll for this strategy is $320, with a $160 loss limit and a target win of $120.
The “31” betting series is 1 – 1 – 1 – 4 – 8 – 16. If you complete the betting series without a win you must stop playing and leave the table. Let’s run through the series using real dollars:
First wager $10 Lose
Second wager $10 Lose
Third wager $10 Lose
Fourth wager $40 Lose
Fifth wager $80 Win!
Sixth wager $10 New Series
While many players have good success with this strategy, any progression that calls for increasing your bets on a loss carry a high risk to your bankroll. For a dice influencer shooting from the Don’ts, it could be a powerful way to play on a limited bankroll.
Flat betting can be one of the most powerful ways to bet. At one of our live seminars we proved this on a series of rolls tracked in the casino the previous evening. Each student got to play his or her strategy of choice compared to a simple flat betting strategy that called for a 50% increase in bet size after every win and a regression back to a single unit after every loss. The flat betting strategy out-performed all but one student’s strategy – and his play had most of his bankroll on the table for the entire series. After the third win the flat betting strategy had a profit locked up and was operating off “won” money.
The great thing about flat betting strategies is that once you understand them you can use them on any even money wager in the casino. They work just as well at Blackjack, Baccarat, or Roulette. The choice is yours.